ON THE GROUND: Harvest Help's From Hunger to Hope Appeal

Scheme Emergency appeal to provide 35,000 tonnes of maize seeds for 7,000 families in Zambia and Malawi

Funding - Raised appeal target of £130,000 with £50,000 coming from small grants and individual supporters and an £80,000 grant from CAFOD. Annual running costs are £500,000. Individual supporters and churches provide 50 per cent of funding, while the Community Fund, statutory services and trusts give the other half

Objectives - To respond to the famine emergency in a way that does not affect the long-term agricultural development projects implemented in partnership with seven local NGOs

Expect gruesome images of starvation on your TV later this year, warns Andrew Jowett, director of Harvest Help, a UK-based NGO. "There was clear evidence of people dying in January,

he says. "It is now crunch time for Zambia and Malawi."

Harvest Help has until the end of September to find 35,000 tonnes of seeds to help protect 7,000 families from starvation. Floods earlier this year forced farmers to harvest their crops prematurely and to eat reserves of seeds held for planting.

The problem of weak supply and high demand is compounded by the fact that Harvest Help will only buy from certified producers to ensure quality and reusability of seeds.

Harvest Help's four local ground workers are experienced NGO workers.

They spend their days scouring Zambia and Malawi for seeds, buying small quantities at a time.

The seeds are then distributed through a network of local NGOs to farmers on seven long-term rural projects. However, the seed is only provided on a loan basis. The families must give back three times the weight of seed borrowed.

Seed security is a basic component of the organisation's work, which has been scaled up by 90 per cent during the emergency. The organisation helps farmers to become certified producers, allowing them to sell seeds on, making money and filling demand in the process.

If Harvest Help fails to find the target of open-pollinated varieties, which can be used year after year, it will fall back on hybrid seeds, which have to be replaced every year.

Despite the impending crisis in Zambia and Malawi, Jowett sees some hope in the capacity-building projects such as the women's groups which Harvest Help supports.

"There is ever-greater economic stability in the long term, and the community has a real capacity to ride economic problems.

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